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Ranking: Portland #3 in Providing
Renewable Energy, Seattle #9

by Staff
Columbia Basin Energy Report, April 19, 2007

In a recent ranking of cities which provide citizens with the highest percentage of power produced from renewable energy, Portland, OR ranked No. 3 and Seattle, WA ranked No. 9.

SustainLane Government determined the percentage of each city's electricity that comes from renewables such as solar, wind, geothermal, and small-scale hydro energy.

Oakland, California led the nation with 17 percent of its electricity being produced by energy sources such as solar, wind and geothermal energy. Oakland gets some of its wind energy power from one of the largest wind power generating facilities in the nation at nearby Altamont Pass.

San Francisco, Sacramento and San Jose tied for second with 12 percent of their electricity coming from renewable energy sources.

The rankings show:

  1. Oakland, CA (17%)
  2. Sacramento/SF/San Jose, CA (12%)
  3. Portland, OR (10%)
  4. Boston (8.6%)
  5. San Diego, CA (8%)
  6. Austin, TX (6%)
  7. Los Angeles, CA (5%)
  8. Minneapolis, MN (4.5%)
  9. Seattle, WA (3.5%)
  10. Chicago, IL (2.5%)
California cities rank high in general because of the state's Renewable Portfolio Standard, which set minimal requirements in 2002 for utility purchases of renewable energy for the state's electric grid.

That standard requires a 20 percent renewable energy total for the state's utilities by 2020.

Some U.S. cities have also set goals for increasing renewable energy ranging from Chicago's 20 percent goal by 2010, to Portland, Oregon's goal of obtaining 100 percent renewable energy by 2010.

Other cities, such as Austin, Texas, and Portland, Oregon have leading residential and business green choice programs as part of city-owned utility service offerings.

Renewable energy sources are defined as those which produce electricity with no global climate-changing greenhouse gas emissions or regional air pollution that comes from burning fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas.

Under these rankings, renewable energy technologies are also considered those that produce regional jobs while limiting the importation of energy from other nations.

Sustainlane says just over 33 percent of greenhouse gases produced in the United States came from electricity production in 2004, making it the leading category of such emissions over other areas such as transportation (27.9 percent), industry (19.6 percent) and agriculture (7 percent).

The organization says that leading cities in renewable energy could have an advantage in any upcoming federal or state regulations aimed at regulating or eliminating greenhouse gas emissions or developing renewable energy standards. If the greenhouse gases that cause climate change get priced, cities with strong renewable energy programs could save a lot of money in the long run and their economies could gain a tax advantage.

Ranking: Portland #3 in Providing Renewable Energy, Seattle #9
Columbia Basin Energy Report, April 18, 2007

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